Floating Dentists: Tal Sahar’s Eye-Opening Journey to Bocas del Toro

Santa Barbara Athletics News

Jul 11, 2018

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — It is no arduous endeavor for one to claim that they want to make the world a better place. It takes a special person to turn lofty ambitions such as those into a reality, though.
As UCSB women’s basketball guard Tal Sahar prepares for the start of her redshirt junior season this fall, those are precisely the kinds of aspirations she has in mind.
“I want to make an actual difference,” Sahar says. “A big difference.”
This past season – her first in a Gaucho jersey – the former Seattle Redhawk proved her capabilities as a difference-maker on the court.
Her 21 points in a 72-70 win over UC Riverside this past February were the most scored by any player off of head coach Bonnie Henrickson’s bench all year. Less than two months prior, competing in her first ever Big West contest, she hung 17 second quarter points on conference rival Cal Poly, setting a new program record for points in a quarter during the regular season.
If the past few years have taught Sahar anything about herself though, it’s the kind of person she wants to become once her playing days are behind her. A difference-maker, yes, but one who is unselfish, empathetic, and aware of perspectives other than her own.
How she plans on going about this path, however, may not be how you’d expect…
“I want to be a dentist.”
These days, the average dentist can make make upwards of $150,000 a year, a fact which the soon-to-be fourth year biopsychology major was well-aware of as she chose her initial career path. But, after her recent eye-opening experiences working in third world South American communities, a sizable pay day is no longer what she has in mind.
“I chose dentistry for, I think, the wrong reasons; for money, and a comfortable lifestyle,” Sahar said. “Going through college, I’ve …

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